It’s probably best not to try and keep up with the prolific out of Hong Sang-soo, but just prepare yourself for each picture as it arrives. The director’s latest, “Grass,” is set to make its World Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival which kicks off today, and it looks like another gem from the filmmaker.
Reteaming with Kim Min-hee (“On A Beach Alone At Night,” “Claire’s Camera,” “The Day After,” “Right Now, Wrong Then“) the story takes inside a café where multiple dramas unfold before our eyes. Here’s the official synopsis:
The owner of this cafe in a traditional district of Seoul is never shown. But we do discover he likes classical music. To the sound of Franz Schubert, Richard Wagner, or Jacques Offenbach, Hong Sangsoo offers another variation on the recurring motif of all his films – when happens when men and women meet.
A young woman accuses a young man of being responsible for her girlfriend’s suicide. A little later, she pays him a compliment. He stares at the floor, embarrassed. In the middle of the conversation, there’s a whip-pan on to the neighbouring table where a woman is sitting at her laptop. She overhears snatches of dialogue and develops them further. Is she the author of the subsequent relationship portraits in miniature whose stories and themes mirror one other? At times, she gets involved in the plot; at others, characters seek her advice. In this Hong Sangsoo film too, soju, Korean schnapps, is served at the table. At this moment, the camera pans out, capturing a young couple in traditional costume, taking photos of each other. Resignation or a new beginning? In the games that play out between the sexes, perhaps you must sometimes look back before you can move forward.
“Grass” co-stars Jung Jinyoung, Ki Joobong, Seo Younghwa, Kim Saebyuk, Ahn Jaehong, and Gong Minjeung, and while there’s no U.S. date yet, we’re sure someone will decide to bring it stateside. [Cine Maldito]